Saturday, July 1, 2017

Jerome Gambit: Taming the Strange Beast?

Following up on the previous post (see "Jerome Gambit: Strange Beast"), Philidor1792 sent me four games he recently played with the line (as White) in a match against Slayman, at, at the quick speed of 2 minutes with no increment per game. Philidor1792 scored 3 1/2 - 1/2.

It is fun to first look at the two shortest - and funniest - games.

Philidor1792 - Slayman
2 0 bullet,

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d4

This is identified at as "Bishop's Opening: Ponziani Gambit".

3...exd4 4.Bxf7+

This is not a Jerome Gambit, but it has a Jerome feel about it, and certainly is equally outrageous.

Of course, White also had 4.Nf3, offering the Urusov Gambit; and Black could have further declined with 4...Nc6, the Two Knights Defense.

4...Kxf7 5.e5 Ne8 

The proper defense, maintaining Black's advantage, as shown in saprvade - Philidor17923 2 blitz, 2016 is 5...Qe7 6.Qe2 Ne8 etc.

6.Qf3+ Kg6 

I was amused to see that Stockfish 8 assessed the silly alternative, 6...Nf6, as completely equal (0.00), recommending the equally silly 7.Qd1, even with an analysis depth of 25 ply. 

Of course, Stockfish is confused by the possibility of repeating the position, resulting in a draw - just play the two moves and the computer leaps to point out, of course, that Black is better by 2 2/3 pawns.

After the text move, however, Stockfish 8 assesses the top 6 replies by White to lead to complete equality (0.00) again.

7.Nh3 h6 8.Nf4+ Kf7

Remember: this is a 2-minute game, and any retreat probably looks the same as any other retreat. But: not so.

The proper line was shown in another one of the games in the match: 8...Kh7 9.Qe4+ Kg8 10.Qd5+ Kh7 11.Qe4+ Ke8 12.Qd5+ Kh7 13.Qe4 drawn (by repetition).

9.Qd5+ Ke7 10.Ng6 checkmate

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